Compiled by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz 03-09
Great results never come easy, right? Building a successful business, having a great family life, etc. It takes hard work, perserverance, resiliency, focus, and a (+) attitude. As I’m working long hours on executing our ‘09 strategy, I always try to keep in mind that it is a marathon that we are running and not a sprint. Building long-term value isn’t easy and it requires hard work. I’d like to share five myths about startups that I’ve learned only after hard blood, sweat, and tears.
Myth #1: Starting a business is hard, Exiting is easy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Starting a business is very easy. Once you’ve started it, getting to profitability and your first $1M/year in revenue is very difficult. I’d consider that you’ve “exited” the business if you’re capable of building a profitable business primarily because you have options – people will want to buy you, you can expand organically, and your options for raising financing is much easier. Expect that the road is tough, give your-self at least 2 yrs, be realistic + give it 110%.
Myth #2: People care about your business. Sorry, folks – people couldn’t care less about your new business. You need to earn that attention. I’ve learned a tough lesson with this the first time I launched my web business, we may have had 6 visitors on our first day – and those were our employees and families. The next day, everyone forgot about us. People don’t care. There are very few businesses that can launch with a launch party and call it a day. You need to give them a great reason to care. Make sure you go in with a good plan.
Myth #3: Being threatened is a bad thing. This is similar to myth #2. If you don’t have anyone who feels threatened by your business or if you haven’t ever faced a lawsuit – I’m sorry but you don’t have the influence that people care about. I don’t wish it on anyone, but if you haven’t ever faced a lawsuit or been threatened with a lawsuit, you probably don’t matter. You need to keep growing and consider that your company has grown to the next level when you are threatened – you should celebrate when it first happens, it’s like riding a bike for the first time.
Myth #4: Assuming you are the Boss. I don’t care if you are a sole proprietor or a CEO that runs a Fortune 50 company, you are not the boss. And, if you assume you are and act accordingly, you will not be successful. Your boss should be your customers, your employees, your investors, your family, and your board. I’m a big believer in servant-leadership, are you enabling your employees to succeed in their position? Are you delighting your customers (your boss)? Since you have the title of leader, are you running the company as the enabler/ servant? You will be much happier you did and your results will far surpass the contrary.
Myth #5: Startups are dependent on your passion. It takes much more than your passion to succeed – it takes commitment. Rugged, almost stubborn, commitment! Not only do you need to be committed, you need to hire people who are committed. It takes a committed team to build a successful business. The startup road is very hard. If you aren’t committed, you’ll never make it.
There’s a reason a lot of folks are just dreamers and not entrepreneurs, it’s just plain hard and risky. I think that’s what makes entrepreneurs special and why the journey is so fun. It’s a truly unique and very rewarding experience (even if not monetarily). Go for it. Live it up!
Comments: What do you think? Are there other Startup Myths that you know of?